Garbage in, electricity out in Sevier County

Garbage in, electricity out in Sevier County

Posted:
"As far as I know, no one actually has a pyrolysis unit up that's running solid waste or garbage," says plant general manager Tom Leonard. "As far as I know, no one actually has a pyrolysis unit up that's running solid waste or garbage," says plant general manager Tom Leonard.

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

PIGEON FORGE (WATE) -- A local county is considering a new plan that would turn tons of trash into usable energy.

The Sevier Solid Waste Plant was a cutting-edge facility when it burned down last year, but the new one set to open in January is expected to be even better.  

After the garbage is sorted, what remains is organic material that Sevier County can compost and plastic that goes in its landfill. However, a new machine can take both of those components and turn them into energy.

"As far as I know, no one actually has a pyrolysis unit up that's running solid waste or garbage," says plant general manager Tom Leonard.

Sevier County is testing out a prototype for the company that developed it.

"So far it has produced a gas, the gas has run the engine and we've produced electricity off it," Leonard says.

The process seems deceptively simple.

"The material goes in. There's a burner that heats the material. The gas is produced. The gas goes through a compressor. They'll bring the gas into the engine and it'll fire up right off the gas," he says.

With traditional recycling and composting, the plant only has to put 30 percent of collected garbage in the landfill. Pyrolysis would bring that down to just 5 percent, plus create another much-needed energy source.

"It's fun because you get to do something that nobody else has done before. But also, there will be bugs to be worked out of it," Leonard says.

A full-size pyrolysis system would cost around $15 million, but it would be paid for by the manufacturer.

The company that built it would also get to keep the money from the electricity it generated, but Sevier County would get free energy to run the rest of its plant.

After thorough emissions testing over the next couple of months, Sevier County officials should know if they want to install the new system.

It could be up and running by 2010.  

Powered by WorldNow

1306 N. Broadway NE Knoxville,
Tennessee 37917

Telephone: 865.637.NEWS(6397)
Fax: 865.525.4091
Email: newsroom@wate.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Knoxville, Inc. A Media General Company.